This beautiful social experiment could save our country towns

It’s no secret many of Australia’s rural towns are suffering right now. An ageing population, a tough economy and a
Olinda Australia

It’s no secret many of Australia’s rural towns are suffering right now. An ageing population, a tough economy and a lack of resources are pushing more and more people into the cities and putting our rich history of Aussie country towns at risk.

So here’s a different idea: could the answer to our rural problem be refugees?

Rural town Mingoola, which sits on the border of New South Wales and Queensland, has tested this theory and hailed it a glorious success.

Mingoola was featured on ABC’s Australian Story and told the remarkable tale of a dying town saved by refugees from Africa. The small town was on the brink of oblivion when resident Julia Harpham had an idea that changed everything.

Working with the government, Julia arranged to have a group of willing African refugees transferred out of the city and into Mingoola.

With only 150 people living there, Mingoola was small. The local primary school was about to close because there weren’t enough children there to keep it going. It’s past pupils had grown up and moved to the cities to raise their families, leaving it practically desolate.

While the majority of Australians want to live and work in the city, it turns out a number of refugees were dying to get out.

According to the report lots of refugee families who come to Australia are struggling in the city and craving to get out into the open air and quiet life.

So are our rural towns the answer?

Australia accepts over 13,000 refugees every year and most of them are settled in the major cities. But what if we sent them to our struggling rural towns instead?

Many of the refugees who were relocated to Mingoola hailed from war-torn countries and came to Australia hoping for a quieter and more peaceful life. When they were put in the city they struggled to deal with the built up area, cramped nature and somewhat less than friendly reaction they received from some.

Moving to Mingoola changed all this. Not only did it give them the lifestyle they craved, it brought youth, diversity and vibrancy to the town and injected some much needed energy into the lives of those who lived there.

Mingoola welcomed the refugees with open arms and has worked from the beginning to include them in town events and help them settle in. The success of the experiment has lead others to ask why it’s not happening in other rural towns and if this could be the answer to our rural problem.

The idea would need a strong program and government support, but more than that, it would need the support of our country citizens who live in these rural areas.

It’s an idea that is dividing some, with many saying they support it and would welcome the change in their own town and others saying they don’t think it would work.

What are your thoughts? Should refugees be settled in rural areas instead of cities? Would this help save our struggling country towns?

  1. Stuart Jakins  

    In the 50s Australia accepted and encouraged tens of thousands of refugees from Europe. These people were sent to where they were needed, the Snowy Mountain scheme is a classic example. They worked hard to make a new life introduced their own culture and introduced wonderful “wog tucker” to a now grateful country.
    The movement of refugees to locations they are needed would give them a wonderful opportunity to create a new life in a harmonious environment. .. Country Australia and country people in particular who are naturally welcoming and hospitable would welcome the opportunity to make this type of program work.
    Well done Mingoola.

    • Jeannette  

      I totally agree with you. Not only are we helping our country areas, we are helping people who desperately need to relocate.

  2. Elayne  

    What has this story got to do with the photo of Olinda in Victoria, they are nearly 1000ks apart?????

    • Jennifer  

      yes, that’s what I wanted to know!

  3. Margaret  

    To watch The Four Corners program about this on Monday was uplifted after all the terrible news about how we are treating refugees in Manus and Nauru. Australians are welcoming, caring people and the example of Mingaloo could be replicated in many country towns throughout Australia.

    • You are clueless, Margaret. What about our towns and suburbs turing into crime ridden third world ghettoes due to third world immigration?

  4. Sue  

    What jobs are available in these towns? Or do the majority just remain on welfare forever? Used to be a no no for welfare recipients to move to a district where there are less job opportunities!!

    • Georgie  

      With more people there there would be more jobs…. Services, banks, garbage men, shops etc…. It’s a self fulfilling prophecy……

  5. Susan  

    I was wondering how they would support themselves, Sue asked the difficult question and Georgie has replied, I’ve copied it and am pasting it here: 10 Nov
    With more people there there would be more jobs…. Services, banks, garbage men, shops etc…. It’s a self fulfilling prophecy……
    so that answers the question, thank you Georgie.

  6. Guy Flavell  

    What a totally dishonest article and UTTER ROT !!!! You watch, these Africans will be just as lawless in small country towns as we are sadly experiencing in Melbourne … probably more so. Why even consider the possibility of our small town residents being demonized by these scumbags ?? Most of these parasites are illiterate and innumerate and would be basically unemployable in either big city or country town.
    Don’t believe a single word from that moronic ABC program. It was simply the usual
    ABC beat-up in line with their extreme left-wing socialist bias … egged on by those whining, imbecilic, Commie Greens people who are riddled throughout the ABC’s structure.

    • tina dallas  

      Guy, alot of refugees that came after WWII were also illiterate they started their own businesses, picked fruit, worked in factories and learned on the job. Refugees in big cities will stick together its a safety thing, however by immersing them in smaller communities, they learn to share and be part of the general community. Just saying. And yes i am a Commie Greenie, where everywhere so beware.

      • Guy Flavell  

        Tina, thanks for your response to my comments. I totally agree with you about the
        WWII refugees that came to our country in the 50s and 60s. They assimilated beautifully, worked extremely hard and we should be eternally thankfull to them all for making Australia such a wonderful multicultural nation. But, honestly Tina, the
        young African ‘refugees’ in Melbourne ARE totally out of control. Residents have been forced to form vigilante groups and are in constant fear of car jackings, violent home invasions, sexual assaults, blatant robberies of small businesses, assaults on our trains and very scary street rioting. To make things worse, our ‘Comrade Premier’
        and his police department are doing absolutely nothing to solve this awful problem
        … mainly due to their fear of being branded as ‘racists’ by people like yourself.
        Why should these scumbags be let loose on small country town residents who would have far less defenses against them than people in the larger cities ?

        Now, I think perhaps that you’ve earned a ‘swipe’ about unashamedly admitting to be
        one of the loathsome, Commie/Maoist Greens. Sorry Tina, it’s obvious you’ve been completely brainwashed by their un-Australian nonsense, ie: opening up our borders
        willy-nilly with zilch concern for our Aussie culture (and security), forcing us to accept classless societies, the inane global warning scaremongering, the hatred of the wealthy and their total lack of viable or sensible economic policies. Their imbecilic idea of this country is see us all wearing drab green clothes and caps, chanting their moronic unpatriotic mantra … and living an almost stone age existence.
        Sadly the “we’re everywhere so beware” line you spouted just proves that all Australians should be aware that your demented comrades, just like rattlesnakes, are hiding under rocks everywhere.

  7. Colleen Mackinnon  

    I agree with locating refugees in country areas, we could save towns like Woomera and Roxby downs are two that come to mind, swan hill has many Africans and I’m sure it’s helping the economy, they do like to spend the money the government gives them

  8. I bet these ‘praised’ Muslim refugees are on still on welfare after 5 years in Mingoola. Towns are dying because there are not enough real jobs paying decent wages due to the third world invasion. Importing people from the third world will not save us, it will destroy us.

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